App Preview: Voice Memos 67
Hot on the heals of learning that a music indexer API appears to be built into webOS 2.0 with the preview of Koto Player, it also appears that the long-awaited microphone API is also now available based on the first glimpses we see of this Voice Memos app (note: Palm has given the go-ahead for previewing this app, so no NDAs have been violated here).
Voice Memos, developed by PreCentral forum member and homebrew developer Arthur Thornton, does exactly what the name implies: it records voice memos on your webOS device. Upon opening up the app, you are presented with a simple screen that has a "+ Record New Voice Memo…" button on the top of the screen and two smaller buttons in the lower corners, one that provides another method to initiate a new voice memo and a second that gives you the ability to sort the memos once you have some recorded.
Jumping into the application preferences, you can see that like many apps you have the choice of a light or dark theme, but also have a lot of control on how the app records and plays back your memos. You can set your default sort order of the memos as well as the default recording quality. For those interested, the app records in WAV format and the exact bitrates are 705kbps (just over 5MB/minute) for High, 256kbps (just under 2MB/minute) for Medium, and 128kbps (just under 1MB/minute) for Low. You also have the ability to play back recordings in the app itself or launch the webOS Media Player in a separate card (which works perfectly with stacks in webOS 2.0), which will allow you to scrub through the recording or just listen to it later. Finally, the other important preference determines if the apps starts recording immediately upon selecting the option to record a new memo or requires the user to initiate the new recording.
Back to the main scene, tapping either option to initiate a new voice memo brings you to a memo detail screen, allowing you to give the memo and Title and Description, as well as select the Quality of the recording if you want to deviate from the default. If you selected the preference to "Automatically Record", the recording would already have started and you will see a red "End Recording button" on the screen as well as a webOS notification indicating "Recording in ON" that identifies that it's the Voice Memos app doing the recording. If you didn't select the "Automatically Record" option, then you will see a green "Begin Recording" button that you can tap to initiate the recording.
Convieniently, you are not actually required to set the Title and Description for the memo. If you leave them blank, it will populate today's date and time for the Title, though you are able to change it and the description later. Once finished with the recording, you will get a "Memo Saved…" message and a back-swipe brings you back to the memo listing, this time with your new memo listed right above that "+ Record New Voice Memo…" option, along with the length of the recording.
Tap on a recorded memo and you are brought to a screen with the memo details, along with 3 buttons on the bottom of the screen that allow you to edit the Title and Description of the memo, listen to the recording, or email the memo. To maintain a native webOS feel, you can even swipe left or right to navigate between recordings, just like you would navigate between webOS cards, or swipe back to get to the full listing of your recordings. And one neat feature of the email option is that while the app sets the filename of the memo as "YYYY-MM-DD-HHMMSS.wav" to provide the day and timestamp of the recording, it will convert that to "Memo Title.wav" when sending out an email.
While the homebrew community as had zcorder to fill its voice recording needs in webOS 1.4.5, it's great to see a full App Catalog-compatible solution will be available to the masses once Palm opens up submissions for webOS 2.0 apps. Voice Memos has one very specific purpose and it does it really well and with simplicity. Arthur is still working on the app (he pushed four updates in the course of writing this preview) and he is hoping to add in additional functionality such as additional themes, better visuals, filenaming options and more before its initial release or as part of a future future releases.